Northern Territory in March 2016: Wet in the south, dry in the north. Hot throughout.

Temperatures were well above average at nearly all locations, particularly overnight temperatures which exceeded monthly records at many locations. While significant rainfall was observed south of the Northern Territory's Top End, particularly along the eastern border, rainfall was generally well below average over the Top End.

  • Many sites throughout the NT had their record high monthly minimum temperature
  • Many sites, mostly in the Top End, had their record high monthly maximum temperature
  • Many sites throughout the NT had their record high monthly mean temperature
  • Rainfall totals south of the Top End were generally above average
  • Rainfall over the Top End was generally below average - some sites in the Top End had their lowest March rainfall total for at least 20 years

The southern half of the Territory generally received above average rainfall totals during March. In contrast, most of the northern half had average to below average rainfall. Northern and northwestern parts of the Top End had particularly low rainfall - significantly below average, with some locations having their lowest March rainfall for more than 20 years. Territory-wide, rainfall was 17% below the long-term average for March. During the first week of the month rainfall was generally patchy and relatively light over the Territory. Between the 9th and 12th a series of active surface troughs developed over the northeast Top End and near the Queensland border, generating significant rainfall totals for much of the NT, particularly eastern parts of the Territory. A weak monsoon trough then developed over the eastern Top End in the middle of the month generating further good rainfall totals across much of the Top End and Carpentaria region. During the time the monsoon trough was active a tropical low developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria, but was not over water long enough to develop to tropical cyclone intensity. After the monsoon trough retreated from the NT region, rainfall eased and was below average in all districts for the remainder of March.

Temperatures throughout the Northern Territory were significantly above average during March. Maximum temperatures were above average everywhere apart from two small regions south of the Top End. Over most parts, including the entire Top End, maximum temperatures were very much above average. Extreme heat affected parts of the Territory in early March, including 2 March when the Territory-wide average maximum temperature was the highest ever recorded in March. Most regions south of the Top End had a string of consecutive days greater than 40 °C, most notably Walungurru (Kintore) which broke the Territory's March temperature record twice in three days: on the 1st and 3rd, with 44.3 °C and 44.4 °C, respectively. (See Special Climate Statement for more information relating to the March heatwave.) Territory-wide, the monthly maximum tempertaure during March was 2.07 °C above the long-term average and the 10th highest on record. Apart from a small area along the Queensland border, where above average rainfall was recorded, minimum temperatures were above average, with the vast majority of the Territory significantly above average. A large proportion of the NT had their highest monthly minimum temperatures on record. Territory-wide, the monthly minimum temperature was 1.80 °C above average, the highest ever recorded during March. The March mean temperature was the 4th highest on record at 1.94 °C above average. Many individual sites set temperature records during the month - for highest daytime maximum, highest overnight, and highest mean temperatures.

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Extremes in March 2016
Hottest day 44.4 °C at Walungurru Airport on the 3rd
Warmest days on average 38.8 °C at Rabbit Flat
Coolest days on average 32.5 °C at McCluer Island
Coldest day 23.5 °C at Kulgera on the 29th
Coldest night 11.7 °C at Alice Springs Airport on the 31st
Coolest nights on average 20.2 °C at Alice Springs Airport
20.2 °C at Kulgera
Warmest nights on average 27.8 °C at McCluer Island
Warmest night 31.1 °C at Walungurru Airport on the 5th
Warmest on average overall 32.0 °C at Ngukurr Airport
Coolest on average overall 27.7 °C at Alice Springs Airport
Wettest overall 370.0 mm at Centre Island
Driest overall 4.8 mm at Keep River Rangers
Wettest day 103.0 mm at Geriatric Park on the 14th
Strongest wind gust 89 km/h at Central Arnhem Plateau on the 2nd

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

Click on a map to show it full size in a pop-up window


Lowest March total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
March
Lambell's Lagoon 99.8 =99.8 in 1992 263.9
The Pines 25.0 22.6 in 1991* 233.2
Elizabeth Downs 44.3 18.2 in 1987* 255.3

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a lower value has gone unreported.




Record highest March temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Tennant Creek Airport 42.0 on the 2nd 41.4 on the 7th in 2013 47 34.4
Gove Airport 36.1 on the 3rd 35.9 on the 19th in 1990 38 31.2
Pirlangimpi Airport 36.7 on the 1st 35.6 on the 31st in 2015 34 32.0
Lajamanu Airport 42.9 on the 2nd 42.0 on the 12th in 2005 24 34.8
Rabbit Flat 43.6 on the 2nd 43.3 on the 18th in 2015 20 36.2



Record highest March mean daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Warruwi Airport 33.3 32.7 in 1990 50 31.5
Jabiru Airport 35.8 35.5 in 2002 41 33.6
Gove Airport 33.4 32.7 in 1990 37 31.2
Pirlangimpi Airport 34.0 33.6 in 2015 33 32.0
Black Point 33.2 32.7 in 2002 23 31.4
Lajamanu Airport 38.7 38.1 in 2009 23 34.8

Highest March mean daily maximum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Darwin Airport 33.7 34.1 in 1942* 31.9
Tindal RAAF 36.5 36.6 in 1986* 34.2

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.




Record highest March daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Darwin Airport 29.2 on the 3rd = 29.2 on the 3rd in 1988 75 24.5
Curtin Springs 28.2 on the 3rd 27.7 on the 12th in 1998 52 18.5
Black Point 30.0 on the 4th 28.9 on the 8th in 2006 24 25.5
Lajamanu Airport 28.1 on the 4th 27.0 on the 3rd in 1973 24 22.0
Territory Grape Farm 28.1 on the 6th 27.0 on the 18th in 2004 20 19.5



Record highest March mean daily minimum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Darwin Airport 26.2 25.5 in 2015 74 24.5
Warruwi Airport 27.0 26.1 in 2010 50 25.2
Jabiru Airport 25.7 25.6 in 1998 40 24.4
Gove Airport 25.3 25.0 in 1988 37 23.9
Elliott 24.5 24.3 in 1990 35 22.3
Pirlangimpi Airport 25.3 = 25.3 in 1983 33 24.1
Tindal RAAF 24.6 24.3 in 1988 28 23.0
Douglas River 24.4 24.2 in 2004 25 23.1
Black Point 27.0 26.4 in 1993 23 25.5
Lajamanu Airport 24.6 23.4 in 2007 23 22.0
Borroloola Airport 24.5 24.2 in 2006 21 23.3
Channel Point 26.1 = 26.1 in 2015 21 24.6

Highest March mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Victoria River Downs 25.0 =25.0 in 1992 23.2



Record highest March mean temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
March
Darwin Airport 30.0 29.4 in 1942 74 28.2
Warruwi Airport 30.1 29.3 in 2010 50 28.3
Jabiru Airport 30.8 30.2 in 1998 40 29.0
Gove Airport 29.3 28.8 in 1990 37 27.6
Pirlangimpi Airport 29.7 29.2 in 2015 33 28.1
Tindal RAAF 30.5 30.3 in 1988 28 28.6
Douglas River 30.0 29.5 in 2015 24 28.5
Black Point 30.1 29.2 in 1993 23 28.4
Lajamanu Airport 31.7 30.3 in 2015 23 28.4

Highest March mean temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
higher
Average for
March
Daly Waters Airstrip 30.1 30.5 in 1961* 28.5
Victoria River Downs 31.3 31.5 in 1992 29.2

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported.




Summary statistics for March 2016
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
March
2016
Diff
from
average
Highest for
March
2016
Mean for
March
2016
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
March
2016
Total for
March
2016
Average
for
March
Rank of
March
2016
Fraction of
March
average
Darwin-Daly (district 14GA)
Batchelor Airport 34.6 +1.6 36.1 3rd 24.5 +1.1 23.0 7th 218.4 243.5 average 90%
Black Point 33.2 +1.8 35.0 21st 27.0 +1.5 24.6 19th 150.0 241.7 average 62%
Bradshaw 37.7 +2.2 41.0 2nd 26.1 +2.0 21.7 25th 135.4 128.9 average 105%
Central Arnhem Plateau 34.0 +2.0 36.1 2nd 24.0 +1.1 20.6 25th 41.8 232.9 average 18%
Channel Point 33.3 +1.4 34.5 25th 26.1 +1.5 22.9 31st 297.8 342.4 average 87%
Charles Point 33.3   34.6 2nd 26.5   23.4 21st 194.2
Croker Island Airport 33.0   34.8 23rd 26.6   24.0 25th 0
Darwin Airport 33.7 +1.8 35.2 1st 26.2 +1.7 23.5 16th 116.0 315.2 v low 37%
Delamere Weapons Range 36.2 +1.9 40.1 2nd 24.6 +1.4 21.3 25th 124.8 160.8 average 78%
Douglas River 35.6 +1.8 37.0 22nd 24.4 +1.3 20.0 25th 215.0 228.8 average 94%
Dum In Mirrie Airstrip 33.2 +1.5 34.0 14th 26.5 +1.3 24.2 21st 227.6 310.0 average 73%
Jabiru Airport 35.8 +2.2 37.6 24th 25.7 +1.3 23.3 25th 150.2 313.1 v low 48%
Katherine Country Club 36.8   39.0 2nd 24.6   19.5 26th 100.6
McCluer Island 32.5 +1.6 33.8 21st 27.8 +1.9 25.5 16th 148.4 220.4 average 67%
Middle Point 36.0 +2.4 38.4 3rd 24.8 +0.9 23.4 21st 172.2 248.2 average 69%
Noonamah Airstrip 35.2   36.9 24th 25.7   23.6 21st 157.2
Oenpelli Airport 35.2   37.2 29th 25.9   23.9 16th 145.8
Pirlangimpi Airport 34.0 +2.0 36.7 1st 25.3 +1.2 22.2 25th 298.2 355.5 average 84%
Point Fawcett 33.2 +1.5 34.5 23rd 26.0 +1.1 22.0 1st 223.8 220.7 average 101%
Point Stuart 33.8   35.4 4th 26.2   24.4 31st 171.4 215.2 average 80%
Port Keats Airport 34.6 +1.2 36.8 25th 25.5 +1.4 22.2 31st 284.0 201.4 high 141%
Tindal RAAF 36.5 +2.3 38.5 2nd 24.6 +1.6 19.6 25th 65.4 164.6 low 40%
Arnhem (district 14BC)
Cape Wessel 33.3   34.9 5th 27.1   24.4 15th 193.8 206.8 average 94%
Gove Airport 33.4 +2.2 36.1 3rd 25.3 +1.4 22.8 24th 129.2 279.6 low 46%
Groote Eylandt Airport 34.7 +2.3 38.6 3rd 25.1 +1.4 19.3 24th 111.6 305.7 v low 37%
Milingimbi Airport 33.9 +1.7 35.7 4th 26.1 +1.4 23.2 27th 148.6 271.0 low 55%
Ngayawili 32.9 +1.4 35.1 23rd 26.1 +1.3 23.0 5th 285.4 268.6 average 106%
Warruwi Airport 33.3 +1.8 35.9 21st 27.0 +1.8 24.7 5th 66.6 235.7 v low 28%
Roper-Mcarthur (district 14DE)
Borroloola Airport 35.9 +2.2 41.2 3rd 24.5 +1.2 18.1 24th 170.4 166.0 average 103%
Bulman 36.6 +2.4 41.5 2nd 24.5 +1.3 21.0 24th 221.0 252.8 average 87%
Centre Island 34.4 +1.5 37.8 3rd 27.3 +1.0 22.5 4th 370.0 261.2 high 142%
Daly Waters Airstrip 36.9 +2.3 39.7 2nd 23.4 +0.9 17.6 24th 53.6 112.6 average 48%
McArthur River Mine Airport 37.1 +2.1 42.2 2nd 25.3 +1.9 19.7 24th 134.6 146.3 average 92%
Ngukurr Airport 38.2   42.7 2nd 25.8   21.5 24th 84.4
Victoria (district 14F)
Lajamanu Airport 38.7 +3.9 42.9 2nd 24.6 +2.6 18.6 25th 61.0 81.6 average 75%
Victoria River Downs 37.6 +2.5 41.9 2nd 25.0 +1.8 19.3 25th 192.8 109.7 high 176%
Barkly (district 15A)
Brunette Downs 37.1 +1.9 41.8 3rd 23.7 +1.4 20.2 23rd 102.1 56.7 high 180%
Elliott 36.9 +1.2 41.1 2nd 24.5 +2.2 19.4 25th 36.5 84.1 low 43%
Tennant Creek Airport 36.9 +2.5 42.0 2nd 24.6 +1.4 22.0 23rd 17.8 54.2 average 33%
Alice Springs (district 15B)
Alice Springs Airport 35.1 +2.4 39.5 28th 20.2 +2.7 11.7 31st 10.0 31.1 average 32%
Arltunga 34.2 +2.3 39.5 2nd 20.4 +1.9 13.4 2nd 26.6 38.8 average 69%
Curtin Springs 36.0 +2.2 42.0 2nd 21.8 +3.3 14.4 31st 46.4 28.6 high 162%
Jervois 35.2 +0.6 41.0 2nd 21.5 +2.2 13.7 31st 65.6 32.3 high 203%
Kulgera 34.4 +2.2 41.0 3rd 20.2 +2.1 15.0 29th 14.6 29.7 average 49%
Rabbit Flat 38.8 +2.6 43.6 2nd 24.1 +2.5 19.1 26th 34.4 69.6 average 49%
Territory Grape Farm 36.9 +2.6 41.1 2nd 21.6 +2.1 15.4 31st 36.4 21.5 high 169%
Walungurru Airport 38.3 +2.1 44.4 3rd 25.4 +1.4 20.3 30th 43.8 49.6 average 88%
Watarrka     41.5 5th 22.6 +1.9 17.0 30th 22.7 32.8 high 69%
Yulara Airport 35.8 +1.5 41.5 4th 21.9 +2.7 14.2 31st 29.0 35.1 average 83%

Notes

The Monthly climate summary lists the main features of the weather in Northern Territory using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. Later information, including data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

A climate summary is generally published on the first working day of each month.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 12 pm on Friday 1 April 2016. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

Averages for individual sites are long-term means based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

The ACORN-SAT dataset is used for temperature area averages.

Further information

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